Bewildering Stories


A Planet Without Hope

by Thomas D. Reynolds


After malfunctioning,
my ship crashes
into a sandy knoll
on a barren plain.

Escaping the pod,
wounded and stiff
with a broken wing,
I crawl into a ravine.

On my scorched neck,
a pulsing distress signal
matches the drumbeat
of my respiration.

None will answer
on the mother ship
probably coursing
away from the planet.

“Contaminated.”
That's what the commander
will bark when my friends
plead not to leave me here.

“Human disease.
Purveyors of filth
and mutated bacteria.
A planet without hope.”

With fractured right appendage,
I limp for shelter
into jagged rocks
of an abandoned quarry.

No visible food
except for winged nits
and tufts of vegetation
I quickly vomit.

Already five sores
erupt on my thorax,
burning like the star
above this planet.

Just before daylight fades
on my seventh day,
I crush the distress band,
still pulsing, onto the rocks.


Copyright © 2005 by Thomas D. Reynolds

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